09/18/16 9:17am

A video to make you smile this Sunday

Some time ago, I re-introduced the weekly palate cleanser posts (a.k.a. video of the week) on this blog. During the week, I post about road closures, stores opening, stores closing, news and things to do around Alexandria, Virginia. So, I thought maybe one post during the week could be just for fun. Therefore, a post that will cleanse the palate.

For this week, whether you have had a good week or a bad one, here is a viral video of Vin Scully reciting the famous speech performed by James Earl Jones in the 1989 movie ‘Field of Dreams.’

Los Angeles Dodgers play by play man Vin Scully, who makes a grocery list sound interesting,  is winding down his Hall of Fame broadcasting career after 67 seasons with the Dodgers.

09/18/16 8:59am

With  the Dallas Cowboys visiting Fed Ex Field to play the Washington Redskins today at 1:00 p.m., here’s an oldie but goodie from the rivalry (Game Center). IMHO, this is an awesome commercial, and from what I can figure, one of the few commercials former Dallas Coach Tom Landry did.

Who are you rooting for today in this longtime rivalry?

09/17/16 4:42pm
National POW/MIA Recognition Day with Helicopter flyover at the Pentagon

A flyover of Army UH-60 helicopters followed by a diamond of combat jets from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps concludes the annual Pentagon observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day, Sept. 19, 2008. U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, the event’s keynote speaker, flanked Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, right, and Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, left, stand in the reviewing area. (Photo credit: DoD)

About mid-morning yesterday (September 16), my phone, Twitter, Facebook, and email started going off with reports of military helicopters hovering over and around Alexandria, Virginia on the banks of the Potomac.

Turns out, after many phone calls, it was a flyover of Army UH-60 helicopters followed by a diamond of combat jets from the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps part of the conclusion of the annual Pentagon observance of National POW/MIA Recognition Day which was held yesterday, September 16, 2016.

09/16/16 2:51pm


On Thursday morning, Alexandria City Councilman John Chapman joined WMAL’s Mornings on the Mall team for an interview on the recent recommendations from the City’s Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Confederate Memorials and Street Names. Click play above to listen to the interview.

These recommendations are to be discussed at Saturday’s public hearing.

Talking about Jefferson Davis Highway, Councilman Chapman told WMAL:

“Obviously outside of all the other issues with the Confederacy and the legacy of the Confederacy, for me that’s the [reason] that’s most appealing,” he said. “You have a major highway dedicated to somebody who really didn’t have a whole lot of local impact on Alexandria. If you want to go on the basis of that, you could look for a reason to rename it.”

09/16/16 2:35pm

DASH Bus

Alexandria, Virginia is one of the best mid-sized U.S. cities for public transit, according to the latest ranking by Redfin, the next-generation real estate brokerage. With a Transit Score of 55.4 out of 100, Cambridge is considered to have “good transit,” based on its Transit Score rating, meaning that there are many nearby public transportation options. Alexandria nearly cracked the top five (5) in the study.

Walk Score, a Redfin company, created the Transit Score to rate locations and cities by the usefulness of their public transportation options. Cambridge, MA and Jersey City, NJ, which took first and second place with a score of 70 or above, were the only cities to fall into the “excellent” category. The remaining eight cities all have scores within the 50 to 69 point range, which Walk Score designates as areas that have “good transit with many nearby public transportation options.

With the exception of Buffalo, NY, all of the cities highlighted in the report are connected to the public transportation system(s) of major cities nearby.

Typically it’s America’s largest cities that are known for having the best access to public transit, but Redfin chief economist Nela Richardson points out that often times commuter cities have great transportation too and they tend to be more affordable. Living in these areas can provide residents with most of the amenities they’d get living in a major city.

“It’s not uncommon for folks to commute to nearby major cities via public transit, which tend to be areas with the most economic opportunity. Having ample public transportation that can get you to where you need to go in your own city, as well as other larger cities nearby, is important for sustainable urban growth across America,” said Richardson.

Methodology

The Transit Score algorithm calculates a score by summing the relative usefulness of public transit (bus, subway, light rail, ferry, etc.) routes near a given location. Usefulness is defined as the distance to the nearest stop on the route, the frequency of the route, and type of route (with twice as much weight given to heavy/light rail than to bus service). Transit Score is based on data published in General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) format by transit agencies across the country. For a more details on the Transit Score methodology, click here.

Below is the ranking of the top 10 mid-sized U.S. cities (with populations between 100,000 and 300,000) for public transit:

Rank City State Transit Score
1 Cambridge MA 72.3
2 Jersey City NJ 70
3 Newark NJ 64.9
4 Arlington VA 58
5 Berkeley CA 56.3
6 East Los Angeles CA 55.6
7 Alexandria VA 55.4
8 Yonkers NY 53.4
9 Buffalo NY 50.4
10 Inglewood CA 50.2

For the full ranking and insights from local Redfin real estate agents, visit this link.

09/13/16 5:03pm
Orangutan Batang and her infant in the Great Ape House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. Credit: Alex Reddy, Smithsonian's National Zoo

Orangutan Batang and her infant in the Great Ape House at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Credit: Alex Reddy, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12. Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January following a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). Primate staff have confirmed the newborn is a male. Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive. The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant. (Click on image above for larger view)

Animal care staff believe that Batang had successfully conceived Feb. 2, based on a human pregnancy test. They confirmed pregnancy with a subsequent ultrasound. The Zoo announced Batang’s pregnancy June 14 through a Facebook Live broadcast of one of her ultrasounds. Over the past 12 weeks, the Zoo has provided weekly updates on Batang on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #OrangutanStory and will continue to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos as news breaks.

“Each and every birth of a critically endangered species is significant, but it is all the more exciting and this is a historic moment for our Smithsonian’s National Zoo,” said Meredith Bastian, curator of primates and member of the Orangutan SSP Steering Committee. “I am very proud of Batang and my team. Ever since we received the breeding recommendation, they have dedicated themselves to preparing Batang for motherhood. I look forward to watching the infant experience everything for the first time—especially meeting the other orangutans and going outside for the first time with Batang.”

(more…)

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